A few weeks ago, our COO, Chance, got Lasik eye surgery. As anyone who deals with contacts knows well, Lasik surgery is a very exciting endeavor.
We were talking about it (because, like I said, he was very excited and talked about it often in the weeks leading up to THE BIG DAY). This bit of the conversation (ironically, not really about the Lasik itself) really stuck with me:
Chance: “There was an offer to save $1,000 that I missed by just a couple weeks, but I called and asked if they would honor the discount.”
Me: “Oh, yeah—and?”
Chance: “And they did! Best three minutes of my week. A three-minute phone call saved me $1,000!”
And then, of course, I started thinking about what other “three-minute opportunities” I had overlooked or ignored or minimized. Shortly thereafter, as so often happens, it became a blog post:
Lazy Is A Costly Endeavor
I don’t think Chance’s story is an anomaly. There are a lot of times when a little extra effort can save a lot of money. If I’m being very honest with myself, I’m often too lazy to try. All the times I’ve said, “Ugh. It’s too much trouble.” or “I cannot even deal with this right now.” I hadn’t been assigning those moments of inconvenience or frustration a dollar value. If I had, would I have made the same choice?
It’s interesting to examine your budget through this lens: how often are you paying for convenience (otherwise known as your laziness)? It’s not always bad or wrong or even something to change—as long as you’ve thought it through and have intentionally chosen it.
For me, a full-time working mom, eating out—it is a convenience that I am willing to pay for. But when it’s a month where we need to tighten up, that is always an area I pull back. It’s something we are always examining, but I can say with full confidence my laziness in the kitchen has a cost. Sometimes I deem that cost worthwhile, and sometimes I don’t (but mostly I do).
Asking Makes The Difference
Chance took a few minutes to ask a question—and it saved him a lot of money. What assumptions are you making that may or may not be worth questioning? Will the hospital set up a payment plan? I bet they will. Will your credit card company lower an interest rate? They often do. Will a creditor remove an old claim? They might. But you have to ask.
Every Dollar Is One More Dollar
When you are budgeting and you are keenly aware that your money is finite, there is a lot more motivation to put forth some effort, if it might translate to freeing up some extra money. Because every extra dollar is one more dollar that you get to assign a job, and put to work. One more dollar to save for that trip, or pay off that debt, or go out to that restaurant. I can get excited about that.
In fact, I might just call Comcast right now, and threaten to cancel, and see if I can get my bill reduced…